4 Digital Ad Strategy Tips to Tackle This Year’s Big Game Opportunity

Digital Strategy for the Super Bowl


You can bet on the Big Game for big viewership. Of the top-10 most watched broadcasts in the United States, all but one are national football championships. (The M*A*S*H* finale was the eighth most-viewed TV broadcast.) Nearly 112 million people tuned in for the Big Game last year, making it the third highest-viewed event in TV history (The 49th football championship, played in 2015, was the most watched at over 115 million viewers).


But if you think 115 million people are tuning in to watch the glory of the game, think again. Whether their teams make it to the championship or not, many people watch the event for its commercials. In fact, one survey found that more millennials tune in to watch the ads than they do to see the actual game.


To reach such a gargantuan consumer audience advertisers – including several auto manufacturers – will pay over $5 million for one 30-second ad spot between the coin toss and the ticker tape. Regardless of which car brands will advertise, it’s the captive, advertising-interested consumer audience that car dealers of any size can get excited about. Since cars will immediately be on the minds of millions after seeing the ads, there’s opportunity to leverage that momentum. Here’s how:


1. Evaluate the automotive advertising landscape and create a game plan.

Per AdWeek, several car brands will advertise during the game. Determine if your OEM is one of them and, if so, what its model focus will be. Anticipate the commercial’s viewer engagement by reinforcing interest in that model with your own display ads. Further, capture that interest by using paid search to drive shoppers who might be searching for the car they just saw during game to your showroom. And lastly, consider reinforcing that model with a blog post on your website for shopper research and SEO value, and share it on social media during the game.


If your OEM isn’t advertising during the game, you still have the opportunity to gain a competitive edge. Check out what other competitive OEMs are doing and plan to boost your advertising for models that directly compete with the cars scheduled to be advertised during the event.


For example, when a viewer goes to research the SUV promoted by your competitor, make sure you have strategically placed your own brand’s SUV display ads on in-market automotive research sites to sway shopper interest your way. You could then draft a blog post that compares your model to your competitor’s model and share that on social media around game time.


Consider fixed operations as well. Weathertech, for example, has a spot planned for the game. If your dealership offers Weathertech products or something similar, plan an advertising campaign using the tactics mentioned above for your parts team.


2. Ensure your ads are relevant and include the most attractive and up-to-date OEM incentives and offers.

Don’t ruin your great game plan with anything less than optimally-relevant ads. Make sure your messaging is as attractive as possible by linking your vehicles with their best OEM and dealership offers. We’ve historically seen enormous spikes in web traffic across the Dealer.com network immediately following a manufacturer’s ad spot during the game. Take advantage of this opportunity.


If your OEM is advertising during the game, ensure your ads reflect the models they’re advertising and the most attractive and current offers.


If your OEM isn’t advertising, make sure your ads still contain strong calls to action and your best offers, and are ready to display on sites where shoppers might compare inventory.


3. Reach relevant shoppers at critical moments on all devices.

Imagine this: you’ve been thinking about a new economically-priced SUV for a while but haven’t done any shopping yet. You just saw an ad for the new Honda CR-V while watching the game. You want to know how that CR-V measures up to the competition so you pull out your phone to do a quick search and find a CR-V vs RAV4 comparison on Autotrader.com.


Autotrader reported that 64 percent of car buyers compare different models. These cross-shopping moments are critical opportunities for dealers as they are the greatest chance to influence shoppers while they’re in the “comparison” stage of their car-buying journey.


4. Track and make the most of shopper behavior.

Shoppers don’t always convert on their first visit to a site. A study by Google showed that one shopper had 69 dealer interactions in the three-month time period she was shopping for a vehicle. Keep shoppers interested by using retargeting ads that integrate with your inventory. Consider retargeting shoppers on Facebook as well.


Don’t forget to retarget based on shopper behavior outside of your site. By engaging audience targeting technology you can effectively retarget shoppers who have been to in-market sites like Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book to encourage them to visit your site and your dealership.


There are events throughout each year which present dealerships with increased advertising opportunity. The Big Game is the first of such events. Be poised with an advertising strategy that works to capture car shopper interest generated by OEMs’ game time ads.


Jessica Lunau is the advertising product marketing manager at Dealer.com